Today, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the opening ceremony of the Khelo India Youth Games 2023. During the event, he also unveiled projects in the Broadcasting sector, amounting to approximately Rs 250 crores, and enjoyed a cultural program. The Prime Minister lit the cauldron with the Games’ torch, officially commencing the Khelo India Youth Games.
Addressing the audience, Shri Modi welcomed everyone to the 13th Khelo India Games, highlighting its significance as a fantastic start to 2024. He praised the gathering, representing a vibrant and energetic young India that is propelling the nation to new heights in sports globally. The Prime Minister extended best wishes to all the athletes and sports enthusiasts from across the country present in Chennai, emphasizing the event’s role in showcasing the spirit of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.”
Shri Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for projects related to the Broadcasting sector, focusing on the expansion of Doordarshan and All India Radio. He mentioned the transformation of Chennai Kendra, which started broadcasting in 1975, and the launch of 12 Akashvani FM projects in 8 States, covering 1.5 crore people.
Recognizing Tamil Nadu’s rich history of producing sports champions, the Prime Minister highlighted the state’s contributions to Indian sports, mentioning iconic figures like the Amritraj Brothers, hockey captain Bhaskaran, chess players Vishwanathan Anand and Praggnanandhaa, and Paralympic champion Mariyappan. He expressed confidence that the athletes participating in the Khelo India Youth Games would draw inspiration from Tamil Nadu’s legacy.
Shri Modi emphasized the significance of exposure for athletes and praised the Khelo India Abhiyan for discovering and nurturing talent at the grassroots level. He highlighted the variety of Khelo India games, including Khelo India Youth Games, Khelo India University Games, Khelo India Winter Games, and Khelo India Para Games, providing ample opportunities for athletes to showcase their skills.
The Prime Minister shared his optimism about Tamil Nadu’s hospitality, stating that the warm people, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine would make athletes feel at home. He encouraged the creation of lasting friendships and highlighted the unique experiences offered by each town in Tamil Nadu.
Shri Modi also spoke about the historical figures associated with the event, such as Saint Thiruvalluvar, and expressed happiness over the choice of VeeraMangai Velu Nachiyar as the mascot, symbolizing women power. He detailed the government’s initiatives to empower sportswomen, including women leagues on 20 sports and programs like ‘Das kas Dam.’
Discussing India’s recent sports successes, the Prime Minister highlighted achievements at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, the Asian Games, and Para Games. He credited the government’s support in the last decade for the transformation of the sports ecosystem in India, mentioning initiatives like the Khelo India campaign and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
Shri Modi affirmed the government’s commitment to making India a sports powerhouse and mentioned plans to host the Youth Olympics in 2029 and the Olympic Games in 2036. He underscored the economic potential of the sports industry, job creation, and efforts to position India as a global sports center.
The Prime Minister concluded by declaring the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 open and expressed confidence in India’s youth achieving new records and milestones in the coming year. The event was attended by dignitaries, including the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and Union Ministers of Information & Broadcasting, Youth Affairs, and Sports.
The Khelo India Youth Games 2023, being held for the first time in South India, will take place across Chennai, Madurai, Trichy, and Coimbatore from January 19th to 31st, 2024. The games will feature over 5600 athletes participating in 26 sporting disciplines, including traditional sports like Silambam, introduced for the first time as a demo sport. The mascot, Veera Mangai, symbolizes the strength and spirit of Indian women, and the logo incorporates the image of poet Thiruvalluvar. The Games aim to provide a platform for young athletes to showcase their talents and contribute to the growth of India’s sports industry.